Colonie police look to prevent large crowds in neighborhoods on - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Colonie police look to prevent large crowds in neighborhoods on Halloween


COLONIE, N.Y. - The Colonie Police Department says neighborhoods in the town have been known for large groups coming socialize on Halloween.

Police say each year, hundreds of kids organize gatherings on social media in neighborhoods causing traffic issues and egging homes and cars.

"Halloween isn't suppose to be about 300 kids in the middle of the street and what can happen in those situations can be very dangerous," says Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider.

Police say for decades, they have observed this pattern in certain areas attracting large crowds, not necessarily for trick-or-treating, but rather to often commit acts of mischief. And according to police, in the past, parents have facilitated the large crowds by driving and dropping their children off in these neighborhoods.

Cathy Barrett says last Halloween her street was mobbed with hundreds of teens.

"They were on people's lawns. They were up on their porches and banging on cars," she says.

She says her car was egged and decorations ruined.

Colonie Police say the teens are using social media to organize the chaotic gatherings, and Barrett says she couldn't enjoy her planned Halloween traditions last year.

"I had five grandchildren here all under six and they always come every year trick or treat around here and they were so scared they came back into the house they wouldn't go out anymore."

On Wednesday, the day before Halloween, police are reminding parents and children not to contribute to the problem by knowingly transporting or participating in these large groups that invade otherwise quiet neighborhoods.

"We think Halloween should be about those little kids in costumes. It doesn't necessarily have to be that gang mentality of two to three hundred young people taking over a neighborhood," says Chief Heider. "A lot of these kids walk there, but a lot of the kids as we witnessed last year were dropped off by their parents at 7 o clock. Parents came back at 9:30 to pick them up, it was total chaos."

These large crowds present a higher possibility of criminal activity and the very real danger of someone getting injured, police warn. The nature of the "crowd mentality" can be hazardous to nearby residents, the crowd themselves, and the police officers monitoring their activities.

Police ask parents the following: When your children are asking to be dropped off in another neighborhood on Halloween, would you like the parents from those areas to be dropping their unsupervised children off on your street? If not, then please enjoy Halloween at home with your children where you can guarantee their safety as well as the safety of others.

Chief Heider says the department monitors social media to track where these crowds might gather tomorrow, and so far they have a few leads.

The Colonie Police Department also says they will be fully staffed on Thursday to deploy officers as needed to address the problem areas if and when they develop.

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